So for many when they think of December, it conjures memories of Christmas, however, that’s not always the case for those who identify as a different religion like myself. I identify as Pagan and therefore December is Yule time – or Winter Solstice if you will. The Winter Solstice is celebrated on the longest night of the year, this year is the 21st of December and is the ‘Festival of Rebirth and Return of the Sun’.
As with most holidays and religious traditions vary depending on the person; some may choose to celebrate Yule with bonfires, the burning of the traditional Yule log and prayers in a coven. However, some like myself choose to celebrate alone at home. Many Pagans I know choose to incorporate traditional “Christmas” decorations in their celebrations such as mistletoe, the tree, holly, wreaths and such this is because these are important and each has symbolism that to others may be unknown.
How I celebrate
Since I live with my partner who is not Pagan and celebrates Christmas a compromise was made. We chose to incorporate aspects of both our traditions into our own. We have a tree, simply decorated but no other decorations, on the 21st we exchange one gift each (or something else depending on what we agreed) then the rest on the 25th, we have special meals on both days and before bed on the 21st I light a candle, some incense and do my prayers and wishes for the next year. It’s simple, but it’s ours.
I read something whilst researching Yule that interested me and wanted to share it:
“Above all, Yuletide is a Celebration of the Return of the Light, the promise fulfilled of Light birthing out of Darkness.
It is a time to share Love and Celebrate with our community of Family and Friends.
And the Wheel Turns…”*
Whether you celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, at the end of the day it’s a time to be with those you love.
What comes to mind when you think of December and what traditions do you follow/celebrate?